Advanced Degrees

When my dad was mad he would do a dressing-down that he sometimes called "Reading you the Riot Act".  This was also known as "Giving you What For" and "Giving you the Third Degree".  I was (still am) sort of a slow learner when it comes to picking up social cues, so I never really figured out the difference between those processes.  I did learn that my father leads with his right hand.  Ouch. 

The modern marvel of Wikipedia sheds some light on the Riot Act.  In my mind the Third Degree is associated both with flesh-charring burns and with being banished from the society of men and forced to do tedious work -- much like Doctoral Candidates must do. 

My mother, on the other hand, generally got her meaning through to me more efficiently.  Corporal punishment was largely symbolic with her, incorporating backside-whacks with a large kitchen wooden spoon.  Ouch.  "Do you want me to get the wooden spoon?"  That was enough.  Usually. 

Mom's warnings were set in various audible "fonts".   I could note the seriousness of the situation escalating to the extent to which she started to resort to her childhood North Dakota German upbringing -- the warnings set first in light Alte Schwabacher, then boldface, then dripping blood.  All without raising the volume level very much. 

Mom's other verbal clue was forms of address.  Calling me:  "Cro-own! ... Crowndot! ... Crowndot Blogspot, you come here! ... Ach now, Crowndot Blogspot Dotcom Junior, you come here this instant!!!" 

In lighter moments, after I had been teasing her, the appellation might include not the Third Degree, but Advanced Degrees:  "Oh get out of here you old Crowndotty XYZ, PDQ, The Third, Incorporated, PhD. ... Shoo!" 

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